The Cayman Islands government has hired Washington, D.C.-based company Solimar to draw up a five-year “National Tourism Plan” for the islands.
The company was chosen in a competitive tender process which began in April, the Department of Tourism announced in a press release.
Tourism Minister Moses Kirkconnell said in the release, “The [National Tourism Plan] will provide a framework for tourism development and management that will support the tourism strategic goals and solidify a well-managed plan for the Cayman Islands tourism industry. Sustainable tourism development will be the foundation of the NTP, which will take into account global tourism trends and market opportunities.
“All these considerations now are critically important; the decisions made will form as a catalyst of purposeful growth and success for future generations.”
Department of Tourism officials said the new tourism plan would “provide recommendations as to the way forward for the advancement of the Cayman Islands’ tourism industry beyond the current tourism development plans.”
According to the request for proposals, among the elements the consultants will be concerned with is how to address the impact of an anticipated increase in cruise ship passengers on the overall sustainable tourism product.
“Ultimately the goal is to provide a tool to manage the tourism industry and propel our success through providing a distinctive high quality product and promoting it effectively.”
The request for proposals notes that George Town and Seven Mile Beach have changed dramatically over the past 30 years and “there are indications that the scale and nature of development is beginning to deter tourists.”
The five-year plan is due to begin next year and continue to 2021.
Director of Tourism Rosa Harris said she encourages all stakeholders, partners and interested parties to engage and participate in the development of this new plan.
“There will be a range of public consultation opportunities as we advance the drafting of the NTP,” she said. “As an industry, we must conduct a multi-sectorial approach to ensure the process is comprehensive and focused on maximizing value. Ultimately the goal is to provide a tool to manage the tourism industry and propel our success through providing a distinctive high quality product and promoting it effectively.”
Consultants from Solimar International are expected to visit the Cayman Islands throughout the duration of the consultancy, beginning this month. The company is described as a “specialist consulting and marketing firm” that examines how “sustainable tourism can stimulate economic growth while conserving natural resources and cultural heritage.”
The company has been involved in tourism consultancy projects in several countries, including Jamaica, Mexico, Sri Lanka and Nepal.